Two others being treated with antibiotics after death of 15-year-old, health ministry says

A 15-year-old boy has died of bubonic plague in western Mongolia after eating an infected marmot, the country’s health ministry has said.

Two other teenagers who also ate the marmot were being treated with antibiotics, said a ministry spokesperson, Narangerel Dorj.

The government imposed a quarantine on an area of Gobi-Altai province, where the cases occurred. The health ministry said 15 people who had contact with the boy were quarantined and receiving antibiotics.

Plague is found in marmots, large rodents that live in burrows in the sprawling north Asian grassland, and some other wild animals in parts of Mongolia, north-western China and eastern Russia.

The Mongolian government warned the public not to hunt or eat marmots.

In 2019, Mongolia imposed a six-day quarantine in its westernmost province of Bayan-Ulgii, which borders Russia and China, after an ethnic Kazakh couple died of plague after eating raw marmot.

In an unrelated case, a patient who was infected with plague in China’s northern region of Inner Mongolia is improving, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

Xinhua said 15 people who had close contact with the patient were released from quarantine on Sunday. The agency said the government had ended its top-level emergency response.

An official announcement earlier said a warning for the public in the Bayannur region of Inner Mongolia to avoid eating marmot and report dead animals would remain in place until the end of 2020.